There seems to be this old school thinking that if what you eat has not "killed you", then it is safe to eat. I had this conversation one day with my aging parents. They are adamant about using their artificial sweeteners. Apparently one of their many doctors told them it was safe to use them, so that was all they needed to hear. Despite my encouragements to try Stevia or honey or maple syrup or agave, they insist on using them. They even said to me - "it hasn't hurt us". Well, that is where I beg to differ. No, I said, you are certainly still alive, but do you honestly think you are in good health? There was a slight pause as I put that thought out there for them. But, it was not enough to get them to change their ways.
My father has had several illnesses over the past decade or more. He has had a quadruple bypass surgery. He is diabetic. He is currently battling lymphoma and just endured 7 weeks of chemo. He chalks all this up to the luck of the draw. Some people just get sick he reckons. He has never even considered that what he eats might have an impact on his health. I don't get it. I also don't get anyone else who thinks this way. He does not consider for a moment that a lifetime of artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, meat and dairy consumption and massive quantities of prescription drugs have had anything to do with his countless health issues. His health issues have been frequent and many since his early 50's. He has seen dozens of doctors and endured many surgeries. Not once has he put two and two together.
What is even more tragic in all of this is that not ONE of those doctors over the last 20 years has ever given him any nutritional advice. NOT ONE! This is more than tragic. It is criminal. It is criminal that our doctors do not study nutrition. It is criminal that they do not consider it in their diagnosis of patients. It is criminal that they are undereducated in the field of nutrition. They see thousands of patients and by the time they see them, it is all about treating the symptoms and trying to stop the disease that has already set in due to lack of proper nutrition. There are countless research studies available that have linked cancer and meat consumption. There are as many linking inflammatory diseases like arthritis to dairy consumption. There is even a new study that has linked diabetes to meat consumption, not sugar as many believe. The information available to everyone including doctors is overwhelming, and yet they still do not advise their patients to try changing their diets.
My own personal experience very recently is what finally pushed me to change to a plant-based diet. I went to see a doctor about some serious digestive issues. I was astounded that this doctor did not ask me one single question about what I was eating. NOT ONE! He was quick to write a prescription for tablets and testing as though what I was eating mattered not. That is when the light bulb finally went on for me. I always knew deep down inside me that it was the key, but now I was ready to really make the necessary changes to test my theory. I stopped eating meat and dairy and have been eating a plant-based diet for over two months now. I have had the odd glass of wine or beer, but did find that it did not always agree with me. I quit coffee and tea and added more fermented foods. I eat very little sugar. I stopped taking the meds he prescribed after 3 days. They were making me feel worse.
I have been sleeping better. I have more energy. All of my Achilles and ankle swelling is gone. My arthritic hands are 80% better. I do not take any medications whatsoever. I try to eat organic as much as possible. I have to wonder how my father's health may have been had he adopted some of these strategies in his 50's.
So, the next time you say that the food you eat is fine; that it is not affecting your health and it does not matter, then turn to me, and tell me about this ailment and that ailment, I urge you to make some changes and just see what happens. It makes more sense to me to give your diet an overhaul rather than run to the pharmacy and scarf down pills to ease your symptoms. Your symptoms are trying to tell you something. Masking them does not get rid of the root causes.
None of this is new. Hippocrates had it figured out a long time ago.
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."
"Walking is a man's best medicine."
"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."